All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: No Job For A Girl by Meredith Appleyard

on April 23, 2018

No Job For A Girl 
Meredith Appleyard
Penguin Random House AUS
2017, 384p
Purchased personal copy via iBooks

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

From the bestselling author of The Country Practice comes a quirky and insightful story about fighting for what you believe in, and finding love where you least expect it.

Leah Jackson leaves behind everything familiar, taking up a job as the resident safety supervisor and nurse in a construction fly camp in the remote South Australian outback. Everyone has told her that it’s no job for a girl, but this isn’t the first time she’s had to prove her mettle.

Project adviser Alex McKinley is happy to be as far away from the city as he can get. Recently divorced, he’s reassessing where he went wrong. Alex has nothing against women specifically. He’d just rather they weren’t working on his construction site, sharing his office, invading his space.

In the close confines of the desert camp, anything can happen, and Leah soon finds herself the centre of attention – from bothersome bureaucrats to injured workers and hordes of isolated men. But it is one man in particular who pushes her to her limits. In more ways than one.

I spotted this for sale recently and I’ve read and enjoyed a few of Meredith Appleyard’s other books so I snapped it up. I started reading right away it at school pick ups, intrigued by the premise. Leah is a nurse who is also qualified to be a site safety supervisor, leading to her taking a dual role on a construction camp in South Australia. She’s immediately made aware of the fact that the project advisor Alex McKinley isn’t happy with her appointment, believing that the job and location are no place for a girl. Especially an attractive one. He wants to avoid any trouble and it seems the best way to accomplish that would be to send Leah back to where she came from and get a man in to take over.

I enjoyed a lot of this book – loved the setting, learning about the construction site and what they were doing and the various roles that people had and how Leah fitted in. She’s got qualifications and has worked on a site before but she also needs to make sure she asserts herself. As safety supervisor she often finds herself caught between the rules and the dollars. Sticking to the book keeps everyone safe but it also means that budgets blow out and the job gets behind and runs up costs no one anticipated. This puts her in the firing line and it’s clear that Leah is supposed to ‘look the other way’ sometimes in order for the site to keep moving. This isn’t something she’s willing to do in the way that perhaps her predecessor may have and it means that she incurs the wrath of one of the workers.

The biggest problem I had with this book for most of it, was Alex. Look he’s nice looking and he’s dedicated to his job, practically a workaholic. But he’s also incredibly inherently sexist and for the longest time he doesn’t actually realise that the problem isn’t Leah, it’s basically just one worker. He tends to override her at times and I understand that he has pressures and is probably being pulled in seventeen different directions at once but he also refuses to really take Leah’s concerns seriously about a guy that is harassing her until it’s basically way too late. Leah actually fits in on the site really well – the men like her, she’s tough on her requirements but also fair, not tolerating anything that could be a danger and she has a good attitude. It was therefore quite disappointing to see Alex not back her time and time again in what he thought was an attempt to keep the peace or smooth things over and it was pretty obvious everything was escalating and was probably going to end badly. Alex is suitably angry and remorseful toward the end of the story, having seen the error of his thinking and that Leah can do this job and is very well suited to it personality and qualification wise. But I felt that his early thinking was very archaic and basically blaming the victim, not the actual problem. And I’m not sure why Leah was so attracted to him! Sometimes he treated her like a child, chiding her for arguing with him or having a smart mouth even though most of the time she’s only attempting to get him to see her point of view as safety advisor. He felt quite patronising toward her at times, using his position as her boss and the fact that she was on probation to almost cow her into submission and do what he wanted, even when it went against her role.

Look, Alex does redeem himself and shows a very different side of himself but I’m not going to lie, it was a slog through some of his earlier opinions and scenes. He judges Leah straight away on seeing her, he’s basically rude to her because no one told him the replacement was a woman and he doesn’t want to have to deal with it. Most of the men on site are far more grown up about it than Alex is! If he’d been a bit more open minded about it, he might’ve been able to see the issue from a different perspective.

6/10

Book #73 of 2018


One response to “Review: No Job For A Girl by Meredith Appleyard

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